After a week off to study for final exams, the #20 Ohio State women’s basketball team returned to action today as they hosted Lafayette. This was an important tune-up game for the Buckeyes who will have another long break to finish up their final exams before they head west on a road trip that will see them face Washington State and Gonzaga on December 15 and 17.
The Buckeyes got off to a great start as Tayler Hill hit a three pointer on the opening possession and OSU jumped out to an 11-4 lead at the first tv timeout. The two teams traded baskets for the next few minutes and OSU led 22-13 with just over eleven minutes remaining in the half. At this point the Buckeye defense clamped down, determined to not let the Leopards hang around; the results was seven scoreless minutes from Lafayette while Ohio State scored 14 straight points to open up a 36-13 lead with four minutes remaining in the half. Both teams struggled to score over the last few minutes, missing shots and turning the ball over, and the Buckeyes went into halftime leading 38-16.
With such a commanding lead there was little doubt of the outcome as the teams came out of the locker room but Ohio State was determined to make sure Lafayette didn’t even entertain any hope of making this a game again. The Buckeyes substituted freely but kept increasing their lead as they coasted to an 81-41 win.
Ohio State kept up its stellar shooting this season, hitting 56% from the field and going a very impressing 9 of 17 from three point range. OSU moved the ball very well, recording 24 assists on 31 baskets but they were a little sloppier with the ball than I would like to see in a game like this, committing 16 turnovers. The Buckeye defense did a great job, limiting the Leopards to only 27% shooting while forcing 24 turnovers. OSU won the rebounding battle 31 to 25 but that was still closer than it should be.
Tayler Hill led Ohio State with 19 points, hitting an impressive 4 of 7 from three. Amber Stokes had a great offensive performance, scoring 15 points on 5 of 8 shooting and hitting all five of her free throws. Stokes also added 4 rebounds and 3 assists but did commit 4 turnovers. Ashley Adams was the other Buckeye in double figures as she scored 10 points while shooting a great 5 of 7. Adams pulled down 6 boards, dished out 3 assists, and got a steal.
This was the second game that saw Foster start redshirt junior center Aleksandra Dobranic and freshman guard Ameryst Alston. Dobranic scored 6 points and had an assist while also opening up opportunities for Ashley Adams as Lafayette had to defend two posts. Alston continues to look impressive on the floor, scoring only 2 points but tallying 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals while only committing one turnover. Alston already is looking comfortable running the point position which is opening up more scoring opportunities for Hill by allowing her to play her natural shooting guard position.
All thirteen non-redshirted OSU players saw action, and all for at least five minutes, with eleven of them scoring. Raven Ferguson and Martina Ellerbe had the biggest impact off the bench with Ferguson scoring 8 points and grabbing a pair of steals while Ellerbe scored 7 points, dished out 5 assists, and had a career high 6 rebounds.
This win increases Ohio State’s home win streak to 28, the longest active streak in the Big Ten. While the Buckeyes took on a rather easy opponent, this was an important chance for the team to get back on the floor and try to avoid accumulating rust over the long break due to final exams. The two game road trip will tell us more about this Buckeye team. Washington State hasn’t played very well this season but Saturday’s game will be only the second true road game for OSU this season and will present a bit of a learning experience for the younger players, namely Ameryst Alston who should be getting her first road start. The game against Gonzaga next Monday will be a much bigger challenges as the Bulldogs are currently 9-2 with their only two losses coming in home games against top ranked Stanford and 7th ranked Louisville, they have wins against Wisconsin and Southern Cal. Ohio State has lost both of their tests so far this season, Notre Dame and North Carolina, but there were hopeful signs in both of those games for the Buckeyes.